Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I wouldn't have minded helping out a few thousand people stranded in the middle of Hungary or somewhere if it had been a one-time thing. But out of incompetence and miscommunication it became a massive railroad. An uncontrolled train of people who suddenly felt invited to take the Balkan route to a 'glorious' future in central Europe. Interviews in Turkey at the time bear out this out and it's not like IS and Assad were dropping bombs 100 meters behind the refugees in Turkey or Lebanon. People did think everyone was invited because of the accidental pronouncements by Merkel and other high-ranking politicians (I hate selfies).

By the time the trek was really in high gear the government had manouvered itself into a corner from which it couldn't escape. 'We gotta help people!' became an absolute non-negotiable moral requirement and anyone opposed was potentially a fascist who wanted to mow down helpless people with machine guns on a newly built Berlin wall. See the black-and-white thinking here? Once that requirement was in place you could never stop because why would the next refugees in line be less deserving of shelter than the previous ones?

What people forgot was that they had been happy to ignore people in need for quite a while until that point. Did anybody do something about Syria for the past years? No. People had looked on or away while hundreds of thousands were killed and millions displaced. The same goes for the lesser suffering happening in Europe itself, in their own country. Human beings are just like that. We can never be morally perfect and empathy is inversely proportional to distance. But at that time it was considered a reason of state. So it fell to other countries who were not as entrapped to enforce some limits.

Are people now being mowed down by machine guns on the former Balkan route? No. Instead, the once hopefuls are living in bad conditions in Greece, still hoping that the borders will be opened. More people have embarked on the trek not just from the Middle East, and more people have died trying to cross the mediterranean. Is that a morally acceptable outcome?

Interviews nowadays show how disillusioned refugees generally are with Germany. The people left behind in Turkey and Greece are frustrated with St. Angela for doing this deal with Turkey and people in Germany have found out that it's not some Shangri-La. Jobs, new friends, and a welcoming culture? More like welcome to Hartz4. It's a slow-moving social trainwreck. How moral is that?

As to the effects on Brexit, one can sure argue that Merkel's policies were not that significant, Remain polled much higher even in this year and so on. We'll never know whether it tipped the scales. But it sure was misguided, vain, and in it's own way immoral.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Jul 17th, 2016 at 03:33:47 PM EST
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